For many of us, the most we know about magnesium is that it was something we had to learn about on the periodic table back in high school.
And for most of us, any other information about magnesium is long gone from our memory.
Fast forwarding to the present day, we recognize that magnesium isn’t just some rock. In a nutritional context, it’s actually an important part of our diet.
Most of us have heard about some pretty impressive health benefits associated with magnesium, but other than a vague familiarity with it, how many of us really know about magnesium benefits?
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential part of our diets that impacts literally hundreds of body functions.
We must have magnesium in our systems so we can grow and carry out many of our life processes, including bone development, nerve function, and muscle movement.
Magnesium is a natural substance, meaning that it occurs in nature and is not made within our bodies. Instead, these minerals are absorbed by plants as they grow, so we get magnesium by eating the right foods.
Therefore, it’s easy to have magnesium in our diet. However, most of us still don’t have enough in our bodies to meet the daily recommended intake amounts.
What are the benefits of magnesium?
One of the most surprising yet impactful benefits of magnesium is better sleep. Magnesium can help you fall asleep faster and help you sleep longer and more soundly.
Not only does it treat many conditions that make it difficult for people to sleep, such as digestive concerns, diabetes, alcoholism, and conditions associated with aging, but studies even show that magnesium helps treat insomnia and restless leg syndrome.
Additionally, the following are magnesium benefits:
Improves cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure. By controlling both the systolic and diastolic levels, magnesium reduces the risk of heart attacks, congestive heart failure, strokes, and metabolic syndrome.
Reduces oxidative stress, which can help alleviate pain due to chronic inflammation, reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels), and help avoid Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
Boosts your immune systems and therefore, enables your body to fight infections, heal from wounds, and recover from the common cold.
Boosting your immune system can help keep you healthy in the presence of common, everyday bacteria and even when a pandemic like the novel coronavirus or other serious public health concern could present an imminent health threat.
Controls diabetes by reducing insulin resistance. This is critical to the body’s ability to absorb the sugar in your blood. When your body is able to properly respond to insulin, your blood sugar will be better controlled,
and you reduce the likelihood that you will have to take insulin shots and pills to manage your blood sugar. Magnesium also can result in significant improvements in A1c levels, which are also critical components of diabetes management.
Strengthens bones and teeth. High magnesium levels in your body decrease the likelihood that you will break your bones due to a fall or other injury,
and over the long-run, can reduce your likelihood of developing osteoporosis. Magnesium also regulates the amount of vitamin D and calcium in your body, which also directly impacts the health of your bones and teeth.
Prevents or reduces migraine headaches by controlling the width of your blood vessels to the brain.
When magnesium enables your blood vessels to stay narrower, you can reduce the impact of migraines and other headaches, or prevent them altogether.
Eases anxiety, irritability, and stress. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer that can relieve tension and make your body calmer.
Higher levels of magnesium in the body are also associated with having a better mood and a lower likelihood of depression.
Gives you more energy and better workouts. Studies show that low levels of magnesium have negative impacts on athletic performance and the ability to perform strenuous exercise.
If you are planning to get in shape, make sure you have enough magnesium in your diet to maximize your workout.
Reduces water retention by providing the necessary electrolytes like potassium and balancing out excess sodium in your body to maintain a healthy water balance.
Both women and men take magnesium to reduce water weight and avoid feeling bloated.
A wide variety of other benefits, including muscle contraction and cramp relief, blood clotting, nervous system management, protein production, asthma treatment, and more.
It even treats arrhythmia, kidney issues, memory issues, and vision problems. In addition, people take magnesium as a laxative as well as to reduce heartburn, treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and reduce the risk of rectal and colon cancer.
Some people even increase their magnesium intake as part of their healthy eating routine to lose weight in their bellies.
What happens if I don’t have enough magnesium?
You are more likely to have brittle bones, which can lead to more fractures, if you don’t consume enough magnesium.
Other symptoms of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, nausea, loss of appetite, and in more extreme cases, even changes to your personality and your heartbeat.
How can I increase the magnesium in my body?
The best way to increase your magnesium intake is by eating healthy foods, such as leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, legumes like black beans, nuts like cashews, fatty fish like halibut and salmon, and dairy products like milk and yogurt.
Magnesium can also be found in whole-wheat bread, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, quinoa, almonds, avocadoes, and fortified breakfast cereal.
It’s important to have enough magnesium in your system to function properly. If don’t get enough magnesium through your diet, then you should consider a supplement in the form of a pill, powder, or even an oil to help you maintain good health and take advantage of the many magnesium benefits.
If your issues persist, talk to your doctor to make sure you don’t have a kidney or other gastrointestinal concern. Your magnesium intake and your overall health are too important to take lightly.